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Former L.A. Planning Director Admits to Ethics Violation

A Los Angeles Times investigation reveals that the city of Los Angeles' might not have revealed every layer of ethics violation committed by Michael LoGrande after he left the Department of City Planning in 2016.
August 23, 2019, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Jon Bilous

David Zahniser and Emily Alpert Reyes report on a scandal in Los Angeles involving the former director of the Los Angeles Department of City Planning.

"Former planning director Michael LoGrande recently admitted to violating city ethics laws by lobbying planning department officials just months after leaving his job running the agency," according to Zahniser and Reyes.

A Los Angeles Times investigation revealed another layer, however: "Three of the four violations took place in early 2016, while LoGrande was under contract with the city to provide 'strategic advice' on various planning issues, a Times review of documents found."

That consulting work for the city was not mentioned in the city's enforcement case against LoGrande, according to Zahniser and Reyes.

Lo Grande has already been fined $281,250, "the largest penalty levied against a current or former city employee" and the largest fine ever for a revolving door case in the city of Los Angeles.

The article includes more details on the work LoGrande was performing while working both as a lobbyist and a consultant for the city.

The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct published by the American Institute of Certified Planners does not specifically mention lobbying, nor any revolving door policy, but there's plenty of language that describes the same conduct to be found in the code. It's probably worth a look for a reminder about where the profession draws its lines—separate from where cities and other forms of government draw their lines.

Published on Thursday, August 22, 2019 in Los Angeles Times
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